The Wikipedia community just successfully pushed back against cryptocurrency.
On Sunday, the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, which owns and operates Wikipedia, announced that it would no longer accept cryptocurrency donations. The decision was made after a three-month discussion period that followed after a request to stop accepting crypto was made from the Wiki community.
“The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating,” reads the update from the organization. “We began our direct acceptance of cryptocurrency in 2014 based on requests from our volunteers and donor communities. We are making this decision based on recent feedback from those same communities.”
Wikimedia said it would close its account with Bitpay, the crypto payment service provider which Wikimedia used to collect cryptocurrency donations.
“I’m really happy that the Wikimedia Foundation listened to the community’s wishes on this issue, and I’m really proud of my community for taking a principled stand,” said longtime Wikipedia editor and crypto skeptic Molly White in a message to Mashable. “It can be difficult when there’s money on the line—certainly an issue that I’ve seen everywhere in the crypto space—and it’s refreshing to see both the Foundation and the community do so in this case.”
White also runs the popular website Web3 is Going Great, which tracks scams and hacks in the greater cryptocurrency space. She was the first to report on the announcement from Wikimedia about its crypto donation decision.
Wikipedia has accepted crypto since 2014. The non-profit was open to receiving donations in popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and others including stablecoins like USDC.
However, as Web3 is Going Great points out, only a small percentage of crypto accounted for Wikipedia’s overall donation haul last year. This might have made it a bit easier for the Wikimedia Foundation to come to its decision to stop accepting crypto. Only $130,000 worth of crypto – 0.08% of its revenue – was donated to Wikipedia in the last fiscal year.
Most critics argued that Wikipedia should stop accepting crypto donations due to environmental concerns. Another popular argument against crypto was that Wikipedia was legitimizing and implicitly promoting a predatory system.
According to White, there was a “strong push from crypto advocates to brigade the discussion.”
“It’s ironic that so much of the crypto ethos involves ostensible self-governance and individual agency, but then members of the crypto community who are not otherwise a part of the Wikimedia community try to force crypto on us,” she explained. “I hope they take this as a reminder that self-governance means listening to community members even when the outcome is not profitable or good PR for them.”
The Wikimedia Foundation did say it would continue to monitor the situation, possibly keeping the door open to a future where it did accept crypto donations once again.
For now, though, the critics of cryptocurrency and the broader Wiki community are victorious.